Camper Van Beethoven: La Costa Perdida – album review

Camper Van Beethoven: La Costa Perdida (429 Records)
DL/CD
Out Jan 22nd, 2013

Camper Van Beethoven return with a new album that sounds very much like a Camper Van Beethoven album. Chris Hearn explains.

I think Dave Lowery is the bees knees. He’s just one of the coolest guys in music. But I must say, of all his projects, I think CVB is lower on the list of favourites. I love Cracker. I really like his solo stuff. He produced one of my favourite albums last year in Sons of Bill’s “Sirens”. I love reading his well-written, though often long winded rants against file sharing and illegal downloading of music that has really helped me change my views on that issue. He’s a smart, interesting, quirky dude.

Now CVB are well established and Mr. Lowery and friends are aging I believe this album reflects that quite accurately. Some of the edge is gone. Things are a tad mellower -although rockin’ out was never really what this band was about. His voice is a bit deeper and a bit more tired sounding. Of course, CVB have always been a rather weird band. That hasn’t changed. Rather odd lyrics at times & a quirky delivery is the name of the game here. The fiddle always plays an important role that, in my mind, helps define their sound. And it’s here in spades. Put it this way, ‘La Costa Perdida’ pretty much sounds like a Camper Van Beethoven album, which is good, because it is.

 

Generally speaking it’s quite decent, even if it wasn’t quite as good as I was hoping, and I hate to say it because I don’t want Dave Lowery to ever read this and go, “THAT BASTARD! Chris Hearn is NOW on my naughty list!” That would be crushing.

“Peaches in the Summertime” with its ska-folk sound is a pretty cool track, and probably my favourite on the album. “Aged in Wood” is a little psychedelic thing that serves as somewhat of a remix to “Too High for the Love In” and does a bit of a squeeze job on the brain. I like it. “Northern California Girls” is a nice little ditty that makes me long for sunshine, warmth and the ocean. It’s a nice, chilled out folky song. The Tex-Mex murder ballad title track is a nice campfire song. Again, pretty laid back. So yeah, there is good stuff to listen to on here that I will probably return to now and again.

To me, there is no one song here that really jumps out at me as a killer. But there is no song on here that I really don’t like. I still like Camper Van Beethoven classics such as “Take the Skinheads Bowling”, “Tusk” or “Eye of Fatima” better, and ultimately prefer Cracker in the end. But that doesn’t mean this is a bad album. It just means that, well, times have changed. In 2013, CVB is an older, wiser, mellower, more settled band that still makes great music, just maybe not quite like they used to back when they were college age punks. Maybe? We’ll go with that.

Check out CVB at their official website, Facebook, and twitter.

Words by Chris Hearn. More writing by Chris Hearn on Louder Than War can be found here.

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